Backcountry Yurt Adventures in Colorado

Some of Colorado's best-kept secrets lie in the backcountry yurts and huts scattered across our national forestsstate parks and alpine landscapes.

By: Staff Writer
Updated: February 19, 2024

With accommodations ranging from rugged shelters to luxurious heated chalets, these hidden gems draw hikers, snowshoers and skiers in search of an authentic and immersive experience in the Rockies. Unlike your typical hotel, inn or restaurant, the journey to your yurt is often part of the adventure, taking you along snow-blanketed trails and pine-scented pathways to find your backcountry base camp

Preparing for Your Yurt Trip

If you’re planning a more ambitious pilgrimage to your yurt, make sure you’re fully prepared for a safe journey there. Keep a map of your path with you, bring plenty of water and food, and pack adequate clothing to keep you warm. Some yurts can be booked for private stays, while others accommodate multiple groups within one shelter. Many of the spaces listed below can (and should) be reserved ahead of time online.

Ridgway State Park Yurts

Drive right up to these cozy yurts in Ridgway’s San Juan Mountains, so you can spend the day exploring trails with vast alpine outlooks in Ridgway State Park, then retreat to cozy accommodations. The park features three ultramodern yurts located on the Dutch Charlie site, open year-round by reservation only. They sleep up to six people — but remember to bring your own bedding. In the summer, tall screen windows and a ceiling fan keep you cool and a large skylight welcomes starry scenery above at night. In the winter, insulated walls, pinewood floors and a sturdy gas-log fireplace ensure you stay nice and warm. Sit back on the patio or start the grill up to enjoy a meal outdoors. By the end of your stay, you’re sure to feel rested and recharged.

Leadville Backcountry Yurts

Nestled above treeline at 12,000 feet, the Leadville Backcountry yurts provide gorgeous panoramics of snowcapped summits and challenging athletic endeavors for seasoned voyagers. Your outing begins at the Mount Sherman trailhead in Leadville, where you park and begin your 5.5-mile summer hike — or winter ski or snowshoe expedition — that includes steep inclines, stream-crossings and unpredictable weather conditions. Once you finish the traverse, you will come across your backcountry yurt, complete with one double bed and three single bunk beds (sleeping five), as well as a wood stove, propane light, basic cooking utensils and a table with chairs. If you’re looking for a rugged adventure with thrill-filled days, this is the choice for you, but beware, this is not a beginner’s retreat. Winter visitors need avalanche-awareness training, great navigational skills and specific gear to stay safe and warm. However, if you’re ready for the challenge, you will certainly have a memorable trip.

Tennessee Pass Nordic Center & Cookhouse

Reserve your seat at Tennessee Pass Cookhouse for an unforgettable fine-dining experience in the woods. Take a 1-mile ski or snowshoe path to this cozy yurt based within the Tennessee Pass Nordic Center in Leadville. For those in need of an accessible option, they also offer Jeeps in summer and snowmobiles in winter to zip along the trail with ease. Once you’re all settled in, it’s time to feast. Dig into the perfectly plated tender grilled elk rack, with creamy potatoes au gratin, herb butter and roasted seasonal vegetables. Once you’re full, you don’t have to travel far because visitors can stay at the luxurious sleep yurts in the nordic center. Their overnight spots sleep six people and come with full log beds adorned with linens and down comforters along with soapstone wood stoves and even room service. So, you can have a bottle of wine brought right to your door when you settle in for the night. Spot constellations as you fall asleep with skylight views above — the region’s dark skies allow you to see the Milky Way on a clear evening.

Pearl Lake State Park Yurts

In winter, the yurts in Pearl Lake State Park near Clark are only accessible by snowshoe, ski or snowmobile via a half-mile trek — making them irresistible to explorers looking for a quiet snowy escape in the mountains. In the summer, the lakeside landscapes are unbeatable. You can cook up some breakfast at the fire pit and enjoy a sunny morning near the water before your day of fishing or hiking. The yurts sleep up to six people (and a pup or two if you’re staying in pet-friendly Yurt 16) and have electric heat and power to keep warm. But remember to bring your own bedding and cookware, as well as drinking water if you’re making the excursion during the colder months. On summer days, a ceiling fan, screened windows and skylight mean you can feel the breeze and peer up at planets after sundown.

Snow Mountain Ranch Yurts

Craft the perfect family vacation with plenty of outdoor fun at Snow Mountain Ranch’s yurts in Granby. This camp run by YMCA of the Rockies has everything you need to keep everyone happy — fishing, horseback riding, massages, snowmobiling, tubing, ziplining and much more. The yurts, available June to October, include a queen bed, bunks, linens, a table and chairs, as well as a mini-fridge and microwave. Plus, nearby bathrooms are private, lockable and include hot showers — always a plus after hours spent in nature. Let your yurt serve as a homebase as you spend the days busy with activities and the evenings roasting gooey marshmallows by a fire.

The Magic Meadows Yurt

Your backcountry winter brunch awaits at the Magic Meadows Yurt within the Crested Butte Nordic Center in Crested Butte. Along with gourmet dinners throughout the week, this tucked-away spot in the mountains serves up an à la carte menu with sweet pastries, steaming soups and all the fresh juice, coffee, tea and creamy hot chocolate you can drink on Sundays. You just have to do a little bit of work to get there. The well-groomed 1-mile trail to the yurt provides a nice morning challenge, with the ultimate reward of a hearty breakfast waiting on the other side (just remember to get your trail pass before embarking). So, strap on your snowshoes or skis and enjoy the crisp, cool air before settling in for an intimate meal with craggy peaks placed right outside your window.

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